Well known Chinese style copycat called SHANZHAI (山寨), and Chinese original style open source hardware model called GONGKAI (公開) named by bunnie are still living. Now Shanzhai engineer and entrepreneurs are helping to Chinese tech giant such as Xiaomi, Oppo and hacking AI robot.
I try to explain about that, Where Shanzhai come from? Investigate them ecosystem and value in modern IoT development?
They Shanzhai hacked What? How they hacked the Manufactualing?
If you find a product in TAOBAO, you can get them PCBA design like download from Github. And if you release a new product in TAOBAO, somebody sends pull request for you like to customize an offer, you can choose
- Sell PCBA
- Customized by yourself
- Somebody makes a copycat by your product.
Shanghai is a Chinese style, innovation model.
History of Origin
In 1990, when China starts to develop, not manufacturing, some Chinese SoC distributors find new business model. If the distributor SoC on the PCBA by chipset reference design, that a better sales than only source. Many Chinese developers didn`t have enough skill to use SoC, but they can make cell phone from the PCBA. They are the origin of Shanzhai, small but freedom unskilled developer make funny cell phone like Phone with the shaver. Few thousand Shanzhai PCBA companies in Shanghai, Xiamen, and Shenzhen. Shanghai and Xiamen are most of SoC company like Qualcomm, MediaTek, Intel, Shenzhen is the most of cellphone company.
Glow and distilled
A few thousand small company distilled to few tech giants, like Oppo, VIVO, Huawei and so on. Now over half of world top 10 smartphone company are located in Shenzhen. Shenzhen also reformed, City of Shanzhai to Chinese Silicon Valley.
Shanzhai distributor also changed the name, they called IDH (Independent Design House) now. Current IDH is a huge company like Xiaomi, one IDH hired few thousand engineers.
Today`s Shanzhai Business model
Why Apple make only high-end smartphone, only one or two model in each year? Why Xiaomi and Oppo, and other Chinese company make Low, Middle, High totally 10 new smartphone release each 3 months? Their developer team is smaller than Apple.One reason is Shanzhai.
Many Chinese tech giants, they outsourced the design of the smartphone to IDH. Middle and low spec smartphone
s are not designed by Xiaomi. Xiaomi in-house designer focus only top-end model. Example, Famous IDH Wiingtech design 83 million smartphone in 2017. And Chinese tech giants still use IDH. 80% Xiaomis smartphones design that outsourced by IDH, also Lenovo` 70%, TCL:25%, Meizu:95%, Huawei:38%…
Why they can outsource, but Apple cannot?
Middle and Low spec smartphone is another market, like Africa and Asia. They prefer cost affordable, but also need good smart phone. And every Middle and Low spec smartphone gets better day by day by Moore`s law. That means if the company can quick time to market new tech (nearly new SoC), that can make a profit. This is the market for Chinese Shanzhai ecosystem, by tech giant and IDH.
Modern Shanzhai not any pirate to the patients, but them ecosystem still make profit for the company in China.
Other style Shanzhai Business
Many factories make, new product by themselves. That means many innovations born in there. The current Chinese company sells an original product, they also sold only PCBA. This is the example company called City easy made communication robot, that robot small succeed in the market, and City easy also sell only PCBA.
Why Cityeasy sell PCBA for copycat? In fact, Cityeasy robot is made by Smartspeaker + Balancewheeler + Tablet, they compile commodity technology, and make complicated product. Cityeasy access other hardware design resource by PCBA, and Rip, Mix, Burn, then made them Original product.
Each commodity technology is under Moore`s law. They showed them idea to profit ASAP. That is the reason why Cityeasy running two sales channels, PCBA for B2B and product for B2C.
This is the backstage, why many new hardware products came from quickly from Shenhzen.
About TAKASU Masakazu
Profile in English
TAKASU Masakazu, Support Maker Faire Shenzhen and Singapore Maker carnival Shanghai and some event, takes us on a journey to his homeland of Japan and their exciting ways of using technology, design and science. He is the most experienced person of Maker Faire in Asia, now based in Shenzhen.
He is also connected all around Makers, even in Asia and Japan.His company Switch Science is the most famous maker tool platform in Japan, and also DIY Indie product marketplace. Japanese DIY product grown so rapidly 20 percent per year.
His book ECOSYSTEM BY MAKERS is well known in Japan.
高須正和是新加坡和深圳製滙節(Maker Faire)及上海創客嘉年華 (Maker Carnival) 的資深成員。Maker Faire是在世界各地享負盛名的活動，向世界展示創新項目和背後具創意的頭腦。高須先生擅於揉合並引用日本首屈一指的科技、設計與科學等知識，其豐富的經驗和人際網絡連繫著亞洲多個地區的Maker Faire。他現駐居深圳。
高須先生亦是日本知名獨資科技產品製造材料公司Switch Science全球業務發展人員，其公司在DIY手作零件銷售市場上亦佔舉足輕重的地位。此外，他的著作《ECOSYSTEM BY MAKERS》一書，在日本廣受歡迎。